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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"The Action Bible"

TITLE: The Action Bible New Testament: God's Redemptive Story (Picture Bible)
AUTHOR: Sergio Cariello
PUBLISHER: Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook Publishers, 2012, (240 pages).

What a wonderful way to bring alive the contexts and the vibrancy of the New Testament. As a Bible teacher and scholar, I am always keen to learn of creative ways to build bridges between ancient biblical times with modern contexts. The Bible is not an old, boring collection of books reserved only for a few pious and religious individuals. It is meant to all people. Some translations become too literal that it is unable to bring out the meaning for modern readers. Others paraphrase it so liberally that it unwittingly diminishes the biblical contexts. As far as children are concerned, they do not need pages of facts and adult concerns interfere with their childlikeness. Instead, children need a firm grip of the story of the Bible, and not become entangled with Bible interpretations reserved for adult eyes and mature ears.

The Action Bible meets where children are. Knowing that children often do not sit still for long, the publishers of this Action Bible use pictures, and simple words to relay the story of the New Testament. It gives children an easy to understand context of where Jesus was born into. Like a graphic novel, the Action Bible use pictures, illustrations, vibrant colour to remind kids that the Bible is not a boring book but a living Word. There are 27 stories of Jesus' Birth and Ministry, 9 stories of Jesus' last days on earth, 10 stories about the early Church, 19 stories about the letters of Luke, Paul, Peter, and John. The illustrations are creative. The dramatization looks realistic. The human expressions in the drawings bring out emotions in a way that mere words cannot evoke.

In a nutshell, it brings the biblical text alive for modern readers, especially children. That said, I believe the audience of the Bible can be much wider. In fact, the Action Bible serves as a wonderful background introduction to any adult Bible reader unfamiliar with the contexts, the backgrounds, and the vibrancy of the ancient biblical times.

It is not easy to write books for children. It is even more difficult to paraphrase the Bible to keep children interested, and yet not losing out the main message of the Bible. Like all paraphrases and picture Bibles, it is a good practice to constantly remind ourselves that it is but one perspective or interpretation of what actually happened during the biblical times. For dramatization purposes, there are many scenes in which it is simply a depiction and not what really happened. Teachers need to be mindful of that if they use this Bible for their audience. As always, let this Action Bible point readers eventually to read the Bible for themselves. Better still, let the whole reading process point readers to the God of the Word.

Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by David C Cook and NetGalley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are freely mine. 

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